She needs to know her story will
Be etched in stone for all to see
And yet she knows she is one girl
In seven billion people walking
On this great and wondrous Earth,
So how can she be held aloft
Above the people jostling for
A place in hefty history books.
I’m sure I’m not alone in worrying about the legacy that I will leave behind when I am gone. I worry about the fact that I will just fade away; I have one child and when he is gone, and perhaps my grandchildren, I will be forgotten.
This is a kind of narcissistic thought, because not every person can go down in history. And just because everyone won’t remember you, it doesn’t mean that you haven’t touched the lives of a few people in a wonderful way.
But I am writing this piece because I’ve spent the last week thinking about Deborah James who died at age 40 last week. If you are not in the UK, you may not have heard of her, but she was a teacher and then she got bowel cancer. She campaigned tirelessly during her illness for more awareness of the disease, and just before she died she was made a Dame.
She has left behind such an incredible legacy and, as this is something that I do genuinely worry about, it has reminded me of what is really important in life.
It’s not about getting famous and successful just for the sake of having money. It’s about either doing something that will help the wider community, or at least the people in your immediate life.
As a bit of an introvert, I know that I could never do anything like Deborah did, but I do have the ability to make my friends feel good, and to make sure that the kids I teach have a positive experience in my room.
It’s great the we have people like Deborah, and many of us who had never even met her, feel really sad about her passing – she felt like a friend. But remember that you can also leave a positive legacy in the smallest way – it might mean a hell of a lot to just one person.